What Is A Content Bank – And Why Do You Need One?September 29, 2020 | By: Hanna Gbordzoe
Your organization is busy–we get it. Maybe you’re short-staffed in light of COVID-19. Maybe you rely on incoming announcements for social media and it’s quiet on the news front. Regardless of the reason, sometimes there’s just not enough time in the day or the week to worry about what your brand is posting on social media. And yet, a social media presence is a key element for any brand, no matter the industry. Even on quiet news days, you want to make sure your organization maintains consistency with its social media posting. Place marketing organizations, meet your new best friend: the social media content bank!
A social media content bank is a collection of fully built-out content ready to be scheduled at a moments’ notice. Your content bank should work seamlessly alongside your brand’s social media calendar, and allow you to slot in non-timing-specific content to fill the gaps. This is where evergreen content comes in. Evergreen content is any type of content that doesn’t go out of date and is always relevant to your audience, and is unaffected by the current news cycle or time of year. For place marketing organizations, your EDO or DMO’s website is an excellent resource from which to pull a wealth of evergreen content, from industry pages to location assets to video content to rankings.
Get to Know Your Brand
The first step in building out a social media content bank is becoming familiar with the brand you’re representing and taking a deep-dive into past social media content. Consistency in voice, tone and overall messaging is an important part of building out social media content, particularly if there’s more than one person working to compile the content. It can also be helpful to take a look at any existing social media strategy for your organization. What audience are you trying to reach? What type of content does this audience engage with the most?
DCI strives to be a leader in the economic development and tourism marketing industries, and our brand is all about thought leadership, timely research, and uplifting our clients’ accomplishments and successes. Your brand’s website and social media content should work together and translate seamlessly, and that’s why DCI’s Research & Insights page and the way in which content is broken down is reflected in our social media sharing.
While DCI’s Economic Development 40 Under 40 Awards only take place once every two years, the initiative is an important element to our content strategy. We’re all about celebrating our client communities and the talented people that make up EDOs across the nation, so 40 Under 40 content, while not constant, acts as a content bucket for DCI’s social media throughout the year.
Co-hosted by DCI Chairman Andy Levine and Patience Fairbrother, the Project Podcast explores company relocation and expansion announcements with a storytelling spin, going behind the scenes to dive into the background of how these decisions are made. Promoting new podcast episodes on social media, along with occasional promotion of the podcast as a whole, is part of DCI’s content marketing strategy and celebrates communities and DCI staff.
Blog & Speaking Engagements
DCI is committed to thought leadership and exercising our core value, “Share Your Talents.” DCI’s internal marketing team works with staff across our Economic Development and Tourism practices to commission blog posts from service areas like digital, branding, public relations and more. Many of these blogs serve as excellent evergreen content and can be repurposed for social, even after their initial promotion upon release. Additionally, DCI staff are often asked to speak at conferences and virtual events, and we’re all about celebrating and promoting these speaking events on our social channels.
Research & Case Studies
From quarterly research reports to consumer studies, DCI is proud to offer extensive industry research between our two practices. Research reports make for great social media fodder, and often include pieces of data surrounding industry trends that will stay relevant long after the research is released. Whether it’s new, groundbreaking research or data being repurposed to promote the research after the fact, content related to DCI’s industry research is a crucial pillar of DCI’s social media across all channels. Case studies allow us to celebrate the work we do for our clients, and can also be used as evergreen content long after they’re published.
Develop a Style Guide
Think of your style guide as the guiding compass for your brand’s digital presence. Developing a cohesive style guide for your brand is crucial. If you look at a brand’s social feed and it seems like it’s all over the place and being managed by several different people, that brand probably does not have a style guide in place. A comprehensive style guide gives your brand a cohesive voice, which provides credibility and minimizes room for error. Here’s some key components to every style guide:
Social Media Channels
The first step in creating social media branding guidelines is spelling out an overview of all of the social profiles that your brand owns. This will include primary channels like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Instagram, but should also include less-used channels like Pinterest, TikTok, Snapchat, etc. If your brand has a profile, include it! This helps to streamline naming conventions for your profiles.
One of the most important parts of distinguishing your brand from competitors and building credibility is establishing a voice for your brand. You want to remain consistent across channels and avoid sending mixed messages to your audience. However, this doesn’t mean there isn’t room for tailoring language between social channels. Just as you might be more reserved on your personal LinkedIn than your personal Instagram, your brand can adjust language accordingly within its brand voice.
When defining brand voice, think of your organization as a person. If DCI were a person, for example, it might be described as:
Looking at past content that resonated with your audience can be helpful when defining your social media voice. Once you’ve determined your brand voice, slot it into your social media style guide with examples of posts that convey the tone you want your brand to deliver.
Does your brand use full-length links in social posts, or shortened links? Are hashtags embedded in post copy, or slotted in at the end? Does your brand have a branded hashtag that should be included in all posts? These are all important questions to ask and answer in a style guide to ensure consistency in social media content. While these may seem like small nuances, they will do wonders for streamlining your processes while building your content bank, particularly across multiple members of your team.
Visual aesthetics are more important on some channels than others (think Instagram), but should be at the forefront of your strategy across all platforms. It’s important for your social media style guide to set guidelines for imagery shared on social media, from profile images and header graphics to photos, graphics or videos shared within posts. Within this section of your style guide, you can outline your brand’s preferred fonts, colors, logos and more, as well as optimal post photo dimensions for each channel.
Format Your Bank
The best tool in your arsenal for building out a content bank, especially when collaborating with members of your team, is Google Sheets. Creating your content bank in Google Sheets not only allows for you and your team to work on the document at the same time without saving over each others’ versions, but also allows for internal and external feedback via comments directly in the document. (Google Sheets also provides ideal organization for your content buckets, allowing for unlimited “Sheets” within a document.)
For Economic Development organizations, content buckets are often built around the region’s key industries. For example, for one client focused on an audience of site selectors and c-suite executives, key industries for growth in the region were aerospace engineering, agrifood, health sciences and transportation, so they prioritized highlighting these industries on social media and built their content themes around these sectors. Another client, whose primary focus was talent attraction, divided up their content buckets by assets of the region: higher education, quality of life, industry clusters, and social media holidays.
When it comes to formatting your bank, the simpler you can make the document, the better. Because it will be filled with hundreds of pieces of content, you want to make sure you’re well organized from the get-go so you can confirm that you’ll be able to revisit the bank and seamlessly locate specific content down the road. Exactly what your bank will look like is dependent on your social channels. On the template seen above, the client prioritized posting on Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook, with the same content and copy for Facebook and LinkedIn. Depending on your brand’s primary channels, you may have more or fewer columns for post copy.
The initial time investment into creating content banks can be big, but will make the posting process a much smoother one for you, and your team. Once your content bank is compiled, your best bet for success will be sticking to a schedule and making use of the plethora of social media scheduling services available. These tactics working alongside your newly built-out bank of content are a recipe for social media success–without the constant headache of trying to figure out what you’re going to post.
If you need help developing a strategy for your organization’s social media presence, creating a content bank for your organization, or if you’re interested in learning more, DCI’s Digital, Brand and Creative Strategy team can help you elevate your content marketing work.